Governor Taps Maple Tree at Blaine House to Celebrate Maple Syrup Season

March 8, 2016

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today joined Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb, Legislators and Maine Maple Producers on the Blaine House lawn for an annual tradition – the tapping of a maple tree. The tapping signals the unofficial start to Maine’s maple syrup season and promotes a growing industry.

“Maine’s maple industry contributes an estimated $48.7 million to the Maine economy,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “That includes a direct contribution of $27.7 million and multiplier effects. Best of all, the Maine maple industry has even more potential for creating local jobs and value- added products sought by consumers.”

Other key findings from a recent study by University of Maine Professor of Economics Todd Gabe:

•Maine has the third largest maple industry in the United States.

•Maine’s maple industry is characterized by a relatively small number of sugarbushes accounting for the vast majority of syrup that is produced.

•Maine’s licensed maple syrup producers have been in operation an average of 24 years, and many of the operations appear to span multiple generations.

•Maine’s maple industry—which counts the licensed producers, and sales at retail food stores and businesses impacted by Maine Maple Sunday—generates 567 full- and part-time jobs, and $17.3 million in labor income.

The study was funded through a partnership between the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, University of Maine, and the Maine Maple Producers Association.

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb noted the support that Maine’s maple industry receives. “Governor LePage recognizes the significance of maple to Maine’s rural economy,” said Commissioner Whitcomb. “Today’s tree tapping event is symbolic of the broad-based enthusiasm there is for Maine’s maple industry. Maine makes multiple uses of its natural resources – maple syrup, wood production, recreation and open space.”

The Blaine House tapping event also serves as a prelude to Maine Maple Sunday, which is held every year on the fourth Sunday of March. This year, Maine Maple Sunday will celebrate its 33rd Anniversary on March 27, with sugarhouses participating throughout Maine. Sugarhouses will be open for visitors to enjoy syrup and candy sampling, demonstrations of making syrup, sugarbush tours, and a variety of other activities.

For more information about Maine Maple Producers, go to: http://www.mainemapleproducers.com/

For more information about the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, go to: http://www.maine.gov/dacf